AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - The 9th annual "Augusta Pride Festival" kicked off today. While it was a big celebration for everyone just to be themselves, politicians running for leadership roles in Georgia spoke about gay rights in the state.
"Discrimination against the LGTB community cannot stand in the state of Georgia," said Stacey Abrams.
People packed the downtown area of the Garden City for the 9th annual Augusta Pride festival.
The weekend included not just dancing and celebrating, but hearing candidates campaigning to be their next Governor and Congressional leader.
"We're here because [Augusta Pride] is a place that a representative of the people should be where they are," said Francys Johnson.
"The LGBT community is a critical part of the state of Georgia, it a part of the economy. But it's also a part of a cultural fabric of our state," explained Abrams.
Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams and Georgia's Democratic 12th district candidate Francys Johnson spoke about gay rights including marriage, adoption, and unemployment.
Abrams says that it's not fair to discriminate against anyone because of who they love.
"If you can be denied access to housing, access to a job, access to services because of your sexual orientation or your gender identity, that is wrong," said candidate Abrams.
Stacey Abrams told NewsChannel 6 one of her many goals to end discrimination in the workplace for the members of the LGBT community.
Francys Johnson believes that all people should be treated equally. He says the violence and declining services to those who identify themselves as gay needs to end.
"Pride events across the nation commemorate the vicious 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York," explained Johnson. The violence that took place against the same gender loving people then and now is not acceptable. We are here today say that is not America."
Johnson says Georgia is the heart of the south and wants to protect the people's the rights.
"I believe making our economy work for everyone, re-imagining a 21st Century educational system, fixing healthcare and strengthening rural America is nig agenda. Georgia is too busy to hate. We need every heart, head, and hand engaged in the work of moving Augusta forward" said the 12th district candidate.
Both candidates took pictures with supporters and danced for a little while.
They say we are who we are no matter who we love or how we express ourselves.
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